As we now know, the emperor has no clothes. The supposed brain trust of advisors and seasoned professionals at Buckingham Palace is just a group of reactive, petty flunkies who are not even capable of talking the Queen out of her absolutely worst, most tone-deaf instincts. The Queen will be making a big speech on March 7th, the day before Commonwealth Day, as part of a royal extravaganza on the BBC. The royals insist that they had planned the event weeks before the news of the Sussexes’ Oprah interview came out, but I do not believe anything coming out of the Palace. As I said, they’re dumber than a box of Kate’s wiglets. They’re reacting to the Sussexes constantly. So, now that we know that the Queen wants March 7th to be about Commonwealth Day alone and not any pesky squeaky wheels in Montecito, surely the British broadcasters would support her desire and refuse to buy the rights to the Sussexes’ interview? Hahahaha.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first major interview since splitting with the British Royal Family has sparked a hot bidding war in the U.K. for rights to air the highly coveted sit-down. Sources tell Variety that Comcast-backed pay-TV operator Sky and free-to-air player ITV are bidding for the CBS primetime special, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. It’s not believed that streaming giants Amazon or Netflix are in the running.
As of Tuesday evening, a BBC source has confirmed that the public broadcaster is not involved in the process. “The BBC is not involved in a bidding war on this.”
It’s understood that ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group, which will be selling the program overseas, is keen for the interview to land on a free-to-air broadcaster, which would ensure a significant profile in the U.K. ITV, in particular, has a proven track record hosting content featuring the British Royals, notably the annual “Royal Variety Performance,” which is attended by senior members of the Royal Family.
It’s also worth noting that Markle and Prince Harry gave one of their most high-profile interviews to date to ITV journalist Tom Bradby as part of the broadcaster’s 2019 documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” during which Bradby famously asked Megan whether she was okay — a very human gesture that Markle even referenced in her recent op-ed in the New York Times.
The timing of the CBS special is key, and would have caused problems for the BBC from an optics perspective. The Queen’s annual Commonwealth broadcast is due to air on BBC One on Sunday, March 7, the same day as the CBS interview. Pre-recorded at Windsor Castle, the broadcast is part of the Anita Rani-hosted program “A Celebration For Commonwealth Day,” which will also feature the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex.
I’m also curious about how CBS/Viacom will sell the broadcast rights to, say, Commonwealth countries. I’m sure many Commonwealth countries would rather hear from Meghan and Harry as opposed to a group of white, staid, boring old colonialists. As for the UK rights, it sounds like ITV will probably win out, which is what I expected. And I chuckled at the BBC not even attempting to get the rights, because the Beeb doesn’t want to piss off Liz. Speaking of, I enjoyed this aside in Katie Nicholl’s coverage of the dueling TV programs on March 7th:
Because of the time zone difference, there will be no actual clash between the two broadcasts; Harry and Meghan’s 90-minute sitdown with Oprah will air at 8 p.m. Eastern time, which is 1 a.m. in the United Kingdom; it won’t air in the UK until later in the day on Monday. But the interest in the interview, and what the couple reveals, is likely to dominate social media chatter. A source told Vanity Fair, “The palace is hoping the service will get plenty of media coverage because Commonwealth Day is incredibly important to the Queen, she won’t be happy if anything overshadows it.”
[From Vanity Fair]
OMG, Liz just needs to take the L and go back to her palace. The only thing that’s going to happen on March 8th, Monday morning – Commonwealth Day!! – is that every single headline in the UK will be about Meghan and Harry’s interview. The Queen will be overshadowed. Commonwealth Day will be overshadowed. And the fact that Liz was so desperate to show off the remaining white family members won’t actually help matters either. That’s the only headline they might get on March 8th – “Dowdy White Royals Lecture Commonwealth Countries.”
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.
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